The University of Hong Kong – or HKU for short – is the oldest institute of higher education in the special administrative region. Formally established in the year 1911, HKU traces back its roots to the Hong Kong College of Medicine for Chinese – which was founded in the year 1887.

The university is mainly based in the Central and Western Districts – with additional buildings on the Sandy Bay Gap area.

HKU is currently organized into the Faculties of Architecture, Arts, Business & Economics, Dentistry, Education, Engineering, Law, Medicine (Li Ka Shing), Science, and Social Science. The university has a standalone Graduate School as well.

The university also operates 2 associate institutions, including the HKU SPACE (School of Professional & Continuing Education). It also oversees the Centennial College, a liberal arts college specializing in 4-year bachelor’s degree programs.

Despite being a Chinese university, HKU’s 10 schools use English as their primary medium of instruction. In this article, we will be looking at the University of Hong Kong scholarships for international students.

HKU International Students

HKU has a total of 18,135 students. 43% of these enrollees are foreigners.

Despite this high number of international students, HKU doesn’t have a separate office to accommodate these learners. Like local students, foreigners need to course their applications through the university’s admissions office.

To address this limitation, HKU has opened a special portal for counselors. This allows teachers or counselors to oversee and review the student’s application – as well as upload the necessary admission documents.

HKU Tuition Fee for International Students

The tuition fee for non-local undergraduate students costs HKD 171,000 or $22,020 a year.

Apart from this cost, international students also have to pay for accommodations (minimum $1,985 a year) and other living expenses (about $6,450 a year).

Graduate tuition, on the other hand, is cheaper. Full-time MA and Ph.D. students only need to pay about HKD 42,100 a year ($5,420). Part-time students, meanwhile, need to shell out HKD 63,000 or $8,115 annually.

Check Also: Available Programs for International Students

International Admissions Guide at the University of Hong Kong

For undergraduate students, visit this page to learn more about the HKU admission process for international students. For graduate students, visit this page.

Application Fee

International students need to pay a non-refundable fee of HKD 450 ($58) to apply to any of HKU’s undergraduate programs. Note that all applicants are required to pay the fee – HKU doesn’t issue waivers for such.

Graduate students, on the other hand, need to pay HKD 450 ($58) as well. This may be paid online through Visa or MasterCard.

Recommended Reading: Universities with No Application Fees

Admissions Requirements for International Students

HKU’s admission requirements for undergraduate students vary according to the applicant’s home country. Generally, students need to have completed secondary schooling – as manifested by a high school diploma, GCE A-level certificate, or IB diploma.

SAT/AP scores are needed as well, with cut-offs varying according to program. For the Bachelor of Arts degree, for example, the SAT minimum should be 1350 with a score of 6,5,6 in Essay Reading, Analysis, or Writing. The AP and SAT result, on the other hand, should be a minimum of 3 and 550 respectively.

Dental Surgery applicants, meanwhile, should have an SAT score of at least 1400, 4 in AP, and 700 in the SATs.

Other documentary requirements include:

  • Personal statement
  • High school transcript
  • CV, certificates, or awards
  • Certificate of public exam (if any)
  • Proof of English proficiency
  • Reference letters

As for graduate applicants, HKU’s requirements are as follows:

  • Bachelor’s degree or higher
  • Proof of English proficiency (IELTS or TOEFL)
  • GRE or GMAT scores taken within the last 5 years (for Business & Economics applicants and MA/Ph.D. Psychology students whose undergraduate degree is not Psychology)
  • Statement of research interest
  • Two reports from academic referees
  • Other documents (list of publications, academic awards or professional qualifications, or summary of relevant experience)


HKU is designated by the 39th-best institution on the planet – and the 4th-best in Asia – by the World University Rankings. The same body also puts HKU at number 41 for Impact and 51-60 for World Reputation.

HKU is renowned for its Social Science and Clinical/Health programs, which are ranked 26th and 28th in the world respectively. Its Arts & Humanities and Engineering programs are both ranked 42nd, while its Life Science courses are listed at number 48. Its Physical Science degrees, on the other hand, place 54th on the list.

The Top Universities Survey places HKU higher internationally at rank 22. In Asia, HKU is ranked third after 2 prominent Singaporean universities.

Acceptance Rate

As a highly competitive university, HKU only has an estimated acceptance rate of 10%. Most of these successful applicants have a GPA average of 4.3.

University of Hong Kong Scholarships for International Students

Undergraduate Scholarships

1. HKU Foundation Entrance Scholarships for Outstanding Students

The HKU Foundation entrance scholarship is awarded to outstanding undergraduate applicants. This merit-based bursary, funded by prominent HKU alumni, covers as much as the full tuition amount – plus allowances.

No application is required for this University of Hong Kong scholarship. All students who are eligible for the award will be considered for the bursary.

2. HeForShe Impact Champion Scholarships

HKU, which is the first university to launch the UN’s HeForShe initiative – is giving out scholarships for disadvantaged students who will benefit from a world-class education.

The HeForShe scholarship is open to applicants who demonstrate strong academic performance – and a commitment to undertake HeForShe’s objectives. While it is available to both male and female students, preference is given to those who come from countries beset by issues concerning health, income, education, and gender disparity.

To apply for this University of Hong Kong scholarship, students must submit a 300-word essay on his/her role as an “Impact Champion”. Info regarding the applicant’s preferred program, interests, extra-curricular activities, and career aspirations are needed for the evaluation as well.

3. HKU Foundation Scholarships for GCE A-Level and International Advanced Level Qualified Students

To be eligible for this scholarship, applicants must possess a 5A for GCE A-Level or International A-Level qualifications. However, students with 4A qualifications may also be considered for the scholarship, provided that they are deemed eligible after a holistic evaluation.

No separate application is necessary when it comes to this scholarship. Applicants for admission to the University of Hong Kong’s undergraduate programs are automatically considered once eligible.

Graduate Scholarships

1. Postgraduate Scholarship

  • Scholarship Link
  • Scholarship Amount: HKD 18,030 to HKD 18,520 ($2,325 to $2,385) a month

HKU’s postgraduate scholarship is offered to all MPhil/Ph.D. applicants. This University of Hong Kong scholarship doesn’t require a separate application as students just need to tick the ‘Postgraduate Scholarship’ box in the application form.

The postgraduate scholarship provides the award in the form of monthly allowances (the amount is higher for Ph.D. students). Unfortunately, it may not be combined with HKU’s other fellowship scholarships.

2. HKU Presidential Ph.D. Scholar Program

The HKU Presidential Scholarship program is one of the university’s ways to attract high-caliber doctorate students from all across the world.

Apart from covering the entire tuition amount, this scholarship at the University of Hong Kong also comes with a cash award for research & living expenses, post-graduate scholarship monthly fees, conference & research travel allowances, and financial support for studies exceeding the normative period.

Presidential scholars are also entitled to training in teaching, individualized advisory service, and opportunities to rotate in other laboratories or departments.

The awardees, which are selected by a panel of professors, are selected based on academic or research achievement.

Other HKU graduate scholarships are listed here. You might be also interested in Master’s Scholarships and PhD Scholarships offered by other universities. Check them out if you are interested.


We hope that this article on the University of Hong Kong scholarships for international students was helpful. If you’re interested in studying abroad, make sure to check out the Available Programs for International Students!

About the Author: Hyun Lee

Hi! I am Hyun, and I am the founder at Global Scholarships. I've received a full-tuition scholarship at Birmingham-Southern College and a $1,000 Burger King Scholarship for my undergraduate degree and was offered a fully funded scholarship consisting of tuition, living stipend, and health insurance for computer science Ph.D. program at North Carolina State University. You can read more about my scholarship journey here. If you are interested, you can follow me on Linkedin where I regularly write about scholarship opportunities.

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